Double bottom line

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Double bottom line is a mission-based business term used in socially responsible enterprise and investment.


Double bottom line also describes a resource-based business model for a project, program or enterprise where there is an operational partnership between a non-profit corporation and a for-profit corporation and/or a foundation;

whereas, a non-profit corporation, a private foundation or non-profit foundation, and a for-profit corporation each have access to sector funding and resources that are not available to the other corporate partners,

whereas, a for-profit partner has access to intellectual properties, expertise, capital assets, legal freedoms and other resources that are not available to a non-profit partner,

whereas, non-profits, for-profits and foundations are governed by different laws and conventions which can be exploited separately in the execution of a project, program or enterprise,

whereas, some larger non-profit corporations executes the Double bottom line business model though outright ownership of a for-profit corporation,

whereas, a for-profit corporation cannot legally own shares of a non-profit corporation,

therefore, the resources and governance models of these two types of corporations can be brought together to be exploited (as in profit sharing) for the mutual benefit of the principal stakeholders and partners.


While all businesses have a conventional bottom line to measure their fiscal performance— financial profit or loss— enterprises which seek a second bottom line look to measure their performance in terms of positive social impact. The double bottom line approach can be applied to both public and private sector organizations. An excellent application of this is seen in Bernardez (2009) (Bernardez, M. (2009). Minding the Business of Business: Tools and Models to Design and Measure Wealth Creation. Performance Improvement Quarterly. 22(2) pp. 17–72)and his other work that includes Kaufman's Mega level strategic planning ( Kaufman, R. (2006). Change, Choices, and Consequences: A Guide to Mega Thinking and Planning. Amherst, MA. HRD Press Inc. to Refinor in Argentina, the Sonora Institute of Technology, and lately for the strategic planning of a transformation of the City of Colon in Panama.Bernardez, M. (2005). Achieving Business Success by Developing Clients and Community: Lessons from Leading Companies, Emerging Economies and a Nine Year Case Study. Performance Improvement Quarterly, Vol. 18, Number 3. pp. 37–55.)

Increasingly companies big and small are incorporating a "cause marketing" strategy as a means of differentiating themselves from their competition. The increased usage of social media is allowing these "company helping a cause" promotions to expand rapidly as people who support the cause easily "share" the information with their friends.

Examples of big Double Bottom Line campaigns include the Pepsi Refresh campaign [refresheverything.com] and the Clorox Promoting a Bright Future Contest [facebook.com/clorox] where each company is giving away money to causes that are submitted by and voted upon by normal everyday citizens who are trying to make the world a better place.

By doing things that are socially responsible, they are also benefiting in a way that significantly increases their ROI. This also allows them to build a more loyal customer base, what some are calling a "strong tribe" - internally and externally. According to the marketing strategist Gina Carr, "This is THE differentiating strategy for 21st century businesses."

Another formulation is Blended Value Promulgated by Jed Emerson one of the leaders in Social Return on Investment or SROI.[1] It attempts to get out of the binary thinking of double bottom line.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]